Local hope Lin Chien-bing surged to the top of the leaderboard after signing for a bogey-free five-under-par 66 at the halfway stage of the 15th ADT Chang Hwa Open on Friday.
Lin, who opened with a 70, reeled in nine straight pars before closing with five consecutive birdies to lead by one shot on six-under-par 136 total at the US$100,000 Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.
Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert, a three-time ADT winner, moved into second place following a 67 while Niall Turner of Ireland (66), Indonesia’s Rory Hie (66), Chinese Taipei duo Hsu Hao-sheng (67) and Lien Chi-wei (67) shared third place on 138 at the Chang Hwa Golf Club.
Defending champion Hung Chien-yao stayed eight shots off the pace after signing for a 71 to take a share of 30th place at the Chang Hwa Open, which is returning onto the ADT schedule for the second straight year this season.
It has been a steady outing for Lin, who credited his course knowledge and strong mental game for a remarkable round today.
“I had a few birdie chances on my front nine but I didn’t manage to take advantage of it. I just tried to play my own game out there and it’s thrilling to finish the round with five straight birdies! I sank a four-footer for birdie on the 14th hole and that kind of got my game going,” said an excited Lin.
“Overall, I guess everything worked out well for me today. I am familiar with this course so I guess that is an advantage for me. I have been playing one shot by one shot for the past two rounds and it has been really smooth for me so far. I only made one bogey on the ninth hole yesterday,” added the 41-year-old.
Pavit, placed second on the merit rankings, is delighted to put himself in a good position to chase for his fourth title on the ADT, which was inaugurated in 2010 as a gateway to the premier Asian Tour.
“I hit very good tee shots and I putted much better today. It’s not easy to putt well on the kind of grasses out here so I am happy with how I played. It was less windy this morning so it was slightly easier too. I will have to keep the ball in play and focus on the tee shots in the next two rounds as I think that would be the key to play well here,” said the 25-year-old Thai.
A win this week will allow Pavit to topple current leader Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei on the ADT Order of Merit.
“It’s getting tougher in every tournament because everyone is playing well and it’s getting very competitive with only a few tournaments left to play. I will just try to play my best and not think too much about the outcome,” added Pavit, who mixed his card with seven birdies against three bogeys.
The halfway cut was set at three-over-par 145 with a total of 54 players, including a local amateur, progressing into the final two rounds.
The Chang Hwa Open is the ADT’s third and final stop in Chinese Taipei this season, following the successful staging of the Taifong Open and Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship in July and August respectively.
Since its inauguration in 2010, the ADT has grown from five events in the first year to a record 21 tournaments in 2014. The top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn Asian Tour cards for 2015.
All ADT events also receive Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status which is a boost for the game in the region.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.
Leading second round scores:
136 – LIN Chien-bing (TPE) 70-66
137 – Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 70-67
138 – Niall TURNER (IRE) 72-66, Rory HIE (INA) 72-66, HSU Hao-sheng (TPE) 71-67, LIEN Chi-wei (TPE) 71-67
139 – Mathiam KEYSER (RSA) 68-71, HUNG Chun-kang (TPE) 72-67
140 – YEH Chang-ting (TPE) 70-70, YU Chun-an (A) (TPE) 70-70
141 – TSENG Hong-sheng (TPE) 73-68, CHAN Yih-shin (TPE) 67-74, Rattanon WANNASRICHAN (THA) 71-70, Mitsuhiko HASHIZUME (JPN) 71-70, Grant JACKSON (ENG) 67-74